|The Sixlings, in order by oldest to youngest|
Last Wednesday was pretty grueling, starting out in Texas at 6:30 am and traveling home for the next fourteen hours, before Smart Guy picked me up at the Bellingham Airport. The shuttle bus took three hours from Seattle, and I saw standing water everywhere, from days and days of rain. Once home, I ate a little dinner and went to bed early. It felt so good to sink down into my own bed and fall asleep. I slept ten hours with nary a stir. Every night since returning home, I've needed more sleep than usual. The very first full day home, Thursday, I went hiking with the Senior Trailblazers and covered nine muddy miles, which I wrote about here.
Thinking about my family, who we are to each other, and how fortunate we are to continue to be well and with enough means to gather together as we did last week, brings two distinct and opposite feelings to mind. One, that it's already behind us and that moment in time may be captured in pictures and memories, but it's already past. The second feeling is the timelessness of being together. Even though I had not been with some of my siblings in years, as soon as we were together we connected as though no time had passed. Twenty years separate the youngest (Fia) from the oldest (me), and whether or not we are blessed with another gathering like this last one is yet to be seen. Fia already began discussing with me tentative plans for another gathering to celebrate her 50th and my 70th birthday in less than two years.
Frankly, that is almost too soon for me to contemplate! It seems like tomorrow, and I'll need at least a year to recover completely from this last one. That will change, though, as time passes and my life picks up as usual here in Bellingham. My first visit to the coffee shop on Friday was wonderful, with little two-year-old Leo seeing me arrive and rushing over with Thomas the Train for me to read to him, and Gene giving me a hug and letting me know how glad he is that I've returned. My usual spot in the aerobics class was still there, and this Sunday brings me closer to what has become normal. This post is included in the mixture.
My parents have been gone for a long time now, but their offspring are still alive, hearts still beating with our family's tendency to develop coronary artery disease (which took both Mama and Daddy) seemingly held at bay by statin drugs, which were unavailable to our parents. But still, when I think of it, something will cause the six of us to finally be unable to gather as we have done over the years. Just as last week's picture has two of our numbers missing, the fact of life is that it is ephemeral, everything born must die someday. But today, in April 2011, I feel the presence of my incredible family here in the same universe, and for that I am eternally grateful. I leave you this morning with a picture of the five sisters, taken last week by my brother Buz.
|PJ, Fia, Norma Jean, Jan, Markee|